Forget French, it’s time to learn Pushto!

Published: March 1, 2011
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Incentives can be provided to students who learn an additional regional language.

Education is more than a predefined curriculum or a Grade Point Average (GPA). It can shape a society. But the education system in Pakistan has failed. The people of our country do not understand each other and have allowed issues based on culture, language and even clothes plague the future of the country.

In Pakistan, diversity has turned into a burden and coexistence of culture and opinion has turned violent and bloody. All this is a result of an education model that promotes isolation and hatred.

Education exchange

The launch of an extensive student exchange program within the borders of Pakistan can remedy the problem of intolerance. Student exchange programs are extremely popular worldwide. Students are encouraged to spend some time outside their home country to learn about other environments and cultures.

This inculcates a sense of tolerance and respect whereby a student learns to accept an alien lifestyle. It highlights the need to realise that one’s culture is not superior to another’s.

Start local

Having an international exchange programs is expensive so an inter-province program is a more practical approach. Most students never get the opportunity to study in more than one province. They reside in hostels based on their ethnic backgrounds and each group flocks together, speaking its own language. The walls become so strong that no outsider can think of squeezing in and the slightest chance of learning about other group’s way of life is eliminated.

This is very similar to the national scenario.

There is no better way of washing away these negative stereotypes than actually living in the host environment.

Help out

The public and private sector can help create a system where students can easily move from one institute to the other.

One way of doing this can be to provide financial support to students who pursue a few months of their university education in a different province.

Bridging the language gap

Students love to study languages like English, French and Spanish. If given the option, many would love to learn regional languages as well.

Incentives can be provided to students who learn an additional regional language.

How great would it be to see a Punjabi wearing a Sindhi topi, speaking Pushto and eating Balochi sajji in the streets of Quetta?

samir.butt

Samir Butt

A former Youth Foreign Minister of Pakistan, Fulbright undergraduate scholar, freelance writer, public speaking trainer, IT consultant and marketing professional. He blogs at samiranwar.net.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.